Plenary sessions



Rosie Alexander is a researcher and careers adviser based in the Orkney Islands in the North of Scotland. She is currently completing a PhD through the International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS) on the career routes of young higher education students from the Orkney and Shetland islands. Selected publications are listed on:

Title of presentation: The role of geographical space in Career Development and Guidance

Abstract of presentation:

Movement is an inherent part of the way that we think about career development – movement up a career ladder or along a career pathway for example. Despite this, classic career theory pays very little attention to geographical movement as a component of career development. With individuals differing in how far they are able, or wish to move, what impact does this have on career development? How can we work with geographical mobility in career guidance and counselling? Drawing on recent scholarship, and an ongoing research project into the career development of graduates from two of the most rural and remote communities in the UK (the Orkney and Shetland islands), this session will argue for the importance of considering geographical space and geographical mobility as central factors in career development.



Thomas Diener had actively interfaced between the areas of project management and personality development for the last 25 years. He studied at the Research Association for Process-Oriented Psychology founded by Arnold Mindell in Zurich and Portland and also at the Moreno-Institute in Sweden (Psychodrama and Sociometrics). As head of the team and concept developer for an accredited training for career guidance in Slovakia he is a honorary member of the Slovak association for Career Guidance and career development.

Title of presentation: Guidance in turbulent times – facilitating individual and collective change

Abstract of presentation:

The more the industrial age bids farewell and a fundamental change in our conception of work is imposed, the more important for the consultants are questions concerning the future of the community as a whole. Unconventional ways of life and work can be interesting alternatives for certain target groups. Especially as traditional work structures come under pressure from different sides more and more (Globalization, Digitization, environmental Issus etc.). An important question in the future will be how far we will be able to see individual and collective change as mutually dependent processes and support both in our local communities and in our global networks.



Title of presentation: The role of professional associations and international networks in career guidance practitioners training

Abstract of presentation:

Connecting with people and maintaining contacts has been an inseparable part of life of every professional and a part of their integration into the expert community and participating in the development of their field. Nowadays, this networking can take a number of forms and career guidance practitioners in Europe can choose to be members of various professional associations, an overwhelming majority of which operate at an international level. Apart from this, career guidance practitioners or organizations they are a part of may be connected to international expert-community social networks. One of the shared goals of associations of professionals and expert-community social networks is supporting career development in each of their members, this impacting not only training and education of their members but also participating on career guidance practitioners training at a more general level.

There is neither any integral approach to career guidance practitioners training in the Czech Republic nor is there any system of training catering to the needs of the specific groups of career guidance practitioners available. Repeated analyses of training offers for career guidance practitioners in CR make it clear that three different approaches, applied one next to the other, can be identified: a training-bases approach, a multi-professional approach, and a competence-based approach. The goal of the talk is to outline the roles of associations of professionals and international expert-community social networks for each of these approaches and raise the question of how the potential of the individual networks can be used in career guidance practitioners training not only in CR but also in other countries of Europe.



Mika Launikari has been working in the field of lifelong guidance since 1995. Currently he is employed at the Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI), where his duties include internationalisation of guidance and counselling services in the context of learning mobility (Euroguidance). During his professional career he has been involved in international guidance cooperation (policy, research, practice) with European Union institutions (European Commission, Cedefop, European Training Foundation, etc.) and European networks (European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network, European Employment Services, Europass, etc.). For five years (2007-2012) he was employed at the European Union agency Cedefop, where he was in charge of lifelong guidance and entrepreneurship learning. Further, he has published reports, books and articles, managed large-scale development projects, acted as a trainer and presented papers at numerous international conferences. His special interests are multicultural guidance and counselling, global careers, and EU policy and strategy developments in the fields of lifelong learning and employment. In 2019, he will defend his doctoral dissertation on intra-EU labour mobility at the University of Helsinki (Faculty of Educational Sciences). See also

Title of presentation: Global careers – Identity formation and interculturality development

Abstract of presentation:

In its policies and strategies the European Union (EU) has repeatedly addressed the importance of developing human capital, fostering educational attainment and promoting cross-border movement of people for careers and learning. Intra-EU labor mobility is said to balance out skills shortages and gaps between the EU28 member states. With an increasing labor force mobility within the EU, employers across Europe can capitalize on the benefits that talented people from diverse cultural backgrounds make in working life. This is considered to increase the EU’s economic competitiveness in the global market. Talent and competences are one thing, successful functioning in an intercultural professional environment is another thing. It is obvious that gifted people are an asset for employers. However, that is not enough, if staff members from across the globe cannot work efficiently and interact constructively together at an international workplace. Understanding more profoundly the qualities that make individuals interculturally competent, and how such capacities can be further developed in a supranational career context are at the core of this presentation.

 Thereby, the aim is to explore and discuss the interculturality- and identity-related career outcomes of intra-EU labour mobility. The focus will be on staff members working for decentralized European Union agencies located in Greece (Cedefop), Ireland (Eurofound) and Italy (European Training Foundation). Essentially, the dynamics of the specific elements that constitute interculturality and identity capitals, and how the staff members relate to them in their multicultural working environment, and what are the meanings they give to these notions from the perspective of their professional careers in the EU public administration will be looked at.



Studied undergraduate and postgraduate psychology and educational sciences in Scotland, France and Germany. Since 1994 employed by the Ministry of Education working as an educational psychologist and counsellor at the ‚Lycée classique de Diekirch’ in Luxembourg. Also head of the ‚Applied Vocational Psychology and Policy research unit’ (AVOPP), a multinational scientific research unit set up in 2005 in Luxembourg, member of the ‚Network for Innovation in Guidance and Career Counselling in Europe’ (NICE), co-opted board member of the ‚International Association for Vocational and Educational Guidance’ (IAEVG). Closely collaborating with the ‚Hochschule der Bundesagentur für Arbeit’ (HdBA), the University of Applied Labour Studies of the Fedferal Employment Agency in Mannheim, Germany on research projects and lectures to students in the Certificate and the  Master’s degree programmes of the HdBA. He is actively involved in the ‚Careers and Talent Management’ Certificate and Master programmes at the Istanbul Technical University.

Title of presentation: Counsellors of the world, unite! / Change what you can, accept what you can’t?

Abstract of presentation:

In his contribution to CAREER GUIDANCE FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE (Routledge, 2018) entitled ‘Precarity, austerity and the social contract in a liquid world:  career guidance mediating the citizen and the state’, Ronald Sultana acknowledges that on one hand “career guidance workers … cannot be expected to address the overarching systemic problems that require political and economic resolve and action at macro levels, both national and supra-national”. Yet on the other hand he stresses that “this does not absolve career guidance professionals from their responsibility to make a difference where a difference can be made”. If I fully agree that career counsellors should strive to change what they can change, I nevertheless cannot help thinking that they also should accept what they cannot change. Ronald Sultana emphasizes the importance of basing grand declarations such as “an acknowledgement of the absolute dignity of the human person; a commitment to the principle that all persons are entitled … to live above a minimal poverty line and to conditions that safeguard their dignity; …” in the everyday realities of those working in the field, and to explore the ways in which such values can be operationalized.

The author had examined the issue of career counselling and social justice in a previous paper focusing on what contribution career guidance professionals can realistically make in order to promote social justice. Now Jean-Jacques Ruppert wants to find out what counsellors actually make of a number of statements put forth by Ronald Sultana such as to “critique precarious work, promote progressive agendas through participation in social movements …, have zero tolerance for symbolic, moral and physical violence, including that perpetrated by the institutions delivering guidance services”. He will present his findings and discuss whether Ronald Sultana’s assertions exemplify the way forward or are no more than wishful thinking.

To be mobile, or not to be, that is the question (for symposium)

In a European context of increased mobility in education, training and employment, guidance and career counselling professionals must ensure that the lifelong guidance and career counselling services EU citizens have access to are of the highest quality. This constitutes a real challenge that requires practitioners to have a sound knowledge of the education and training systems and of the guidance and career counselling structures that exist in Europe as well as of their respective socio-economic and cultural contexts. In his contribution Jean-Jacques Ruppert addresses an issue that is very close to his heart indeed in a humoristic, light-hearted but thought-provoking way.



Rie Thomsen is Associate professor and head of the Guidance Research Unit, School of Education, Aarhus University, Denmark. Her research revolves around lifelong career guidance practices and policies with a special interest on the role of communities and in organizational, leadership and social justice aspects of career guidance provision. Furthermore she has a strong interest in creating an inspiring environment for interdisciplinary research in Lifelong Learning and Lifelong Guidance. She is an experienced partner of several international research projects. In 2012 she published the book Career Guidance in Communities for which she was awarded with the Danish national guidance award for her research (2013). In 2018 she edited the book Career guidance and social justice – contesting neo-liberalism together with professors Tristram Hooley and Ronald Sultana. She is a NICEC International fellow, a founding member of the NICE (Network for Innovation in Career Guidance and Counselling) Foundation, and the Scientific Coordinator  of the European Doctoral Programme in Career Guidance and Counselling (ECADOC). Currently she is an expert advisor to the Skills Norway on the development of a framework for career learning and competences.

Title of presentation: Career guidance in communities – A model for reflexive practice

Abstract of presentation:

In this presentation, Rie Thomsen asks how career guidance interacts with the everyday lives of people and their communities. Based on her book Career Guidance in Communities she discusses the possibility of framing guidance as part of a community and not as an activity separate from it. Career Guidance in communities can be considered a social practice theory, which advocates changes in perspective from the individual to the collective as the starting point for the development of guidance activities. As resources for guidance in many countries are suffering from cutbacks discussions on how to invest resources become increasingly important. Engaging in existing communities and creating flexible forms of career guidance activities that allow for adaptation to meet the diverse needs of different communities might be a way forward. Practices, which also allow the participants to influence the guidance process, so that they, together with the guidance professional, set the stage for new collaborative modes of delivery will also, be considered as an important part of this philosophy.



Title of presentation: Learning from the interface of the local and the global – Career guidance and counselling with migrants.

Implications for practice from research and CMinaR, an Erasmus+-project aiming at developing higher education courses for counsellors working with refugees.

Abstract of presentation:

Peavy & Li (2003) argues that there is often a “straight” transfer of common career guidance and counselling (CGC) methods into intercultural meetings, but that “standard counselling” needs to be adapted for intercultural contexts. They conclude that the CGC practice and its assumptions must be investigated and deconstructed, which involves critically reviewing and developing the CGC practice and its assumptions, to respond to the needs of different groups. In other words, different groups contribute to development of the CGC field.

The question of how CGC can best support individuals’ career learning and decision making is a key issue irrespective of target groups, but is especially challenged in meetings with migrants. Conversations with clients with migration background are complex. The presenters Swedish study showed that both the questions of the conversation and migrants conditions implied a greater variety and uncertainty than when clients had a Swedish background. CGC with migrants puts the light on universal questions in CGC and is thus an important source of knowledge for developing the CGC pedagogy for all target groups.

This presentation aims to highlight and raise thoughts about the possibilities and constraints of career guidance and counselling (CGC) conversations from the perspective of CGC with migrants. As Sweden has had a big influx of migrants the last years the presentation draws on experience and research on CGC with migrants in Sweden and within an Erasmus+-project that aims to develop higher education courses for counsellors working with refugees.